Alicia Shepard, who has served as National Public Radio’s ombudsman since 2007, said “adios” to NPR in her final column this month. Highlighting some of the high-profile controversies at NPR in the past year, including NPR’s inaccurate reporting that Gabrielle Giffords was dead and the firing of Juan Williams last fall, Shepard commended NPR for being “dedicated to transparency and accountability” in having an independent ombudsman.
In her final column, Shepard listed some suggestions for NPR’s future. Shepard called for diversity on NPR’s airwaves and full disclosure of any partisan or interest groups cited or interviewing on air. As Shepard explained:
“I know that it takes up valuable air time to describe a group like the Center for Fiscal Responsibility, but if the goal is to inform, you aren’t succeeding when you don’t identify.”
Also, Shepard advised NPR beef up its corrections by specifically designating someone to be in charge any corrections. Improving NPR’s corrections process would help NPR’s credibility, Shepard explained.
As evidence for her point, Shepard noted that “Between May 19 and May 27, apparently there were no mistakes made on NPR. I simply do not believe that. What I do believe is that the folks in charge of corrections have other more pressing duties and simply don’t have the time to investigate requests for corrections.”